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Carlos Holmes Trujillo García (Cartago, Valle del Cauca) is a Colombian dynasty politician, diplomat, scholar and attorney, and his country's current foreign minister. Previously in his career he was mayor of Cali, Colombia's ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) and numerous countries.

Carlos Holmes Trujillo
Holmes Trujillo.png
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
7 August 2018
PresidentIván Duque Márquez
Preceded byMaría Ángela Holguín
Minister of Interior
In office
August 7, 1997 – January 28, 1998
PresidentErnesto Samper Pizano
Preceded byHoracio Serpa
Succeeded byAlfonso López Caballero
Minister of Education
In office
February 5, 1992 – August 7, 1993
PresidentCésar Gaviria
Preceded byAlfonso Valdivieso
Succeeded byMaruja Pachón
Mayor of Cali
In office
January 1, 1988 – January 1, 1990
Preceded byHenry Eder Caicedo
Succeeded byGermán Villegas
Personal details
Born (1951-09-23) 23 September 1951 (age 67)
Cartago, Valle del Cauca, Colombia
Political partyDemocratic Center
Alma materUniversity of Cauca
Sophia University (Tokyo)


Youth and academic careerEdit


Trujillo was born in Cartago, Valle del Cauca as the oldest of two sons of powerful Liberal Party mogul, congressman, diplomat and attorney Carlos Holmes Trujillo Sr. and Genoveva García.[1] His younger brother José Renán was also active in politics until 2008.


Trujillo received his primary education at the private Liceo Cartago and his high school education at the Pio XII high school in Cali. Following in his father's footsteps, he went to law school at the University of Cauca where he specialized in criminal law. At 25 he was appointed consul in Tokyo, Japan where he continued his studies and received a master's degree in International Business.[2]

Early political careerEdit

Return to ColombiaEdit

After finishing his education in Tokyo, Trujillo returned to Colombia in 1983 and was appointed Cali's Finance Secretary by Mayor Julio Riascos (Conservative Party). After Riascos resigned a year later, Trujillo became director of Colombia's metal federation. Meanwhile, Trujillo made career inside his father's Liberal Party and became the political powerhouse's vice-president.[3]

Mayor of CaliEdit

Trujillo became Cali's first elected Mayor in 1988 and remained in that position until 1990, avoiding confrontations with the Cali Cartel that was becoming increasingly powerful in the city and corrupting much of Cali's public institutions.[4] While formally running Colombia's third largest city, Trujillo expanded his power by founding the Colombian Federation of Municipalities (FCM) and becoming its chairman.

National politicsEdit

Minister under a new constitutionEdit

As FCM chairman and vice-president of the Liberal Party, Trujillo took part in formulating Colombia's 1991 constitution that was part of a peace process with the M-19, a guerrilla group that since 1970 had violently opposed the oligarchical political system of which Trujillo had become a prominent member.

Following elections that same year, President César Gaviria (Liberal Party) appointed Trujillo education minister, a position he held from 1992 until the end of Gaviria's term in 1994.

Peace policies and paramilitariesEdit

Following that year's election of another liberal President, Ernesto Samper, Trujillo was appointed High Commissioner of Peace. During this two-year period, legal paramilitary groups called CONVIVIR and illegal paramilitary groups like the ACCU teamed up with drug traffickers and the military to brutally combat far-left guerrilla groups like the FARC and the ELN, and assassinate leftist politicians.

Proceso 8000 and the OASEdit

The president appointed Trujillo as ambassador to the OAS in the middle of Proceso 8000, a criminal investigation into Cali Cartel Funding of Samper's presidential campaign the year before. The former Cali mayor was called back in 1997 to replace Interior Minister Horacio Serpa who was forced to resign over the scandal.[5] Trujillo held the position until the end of Samper's presidency.

Diplomatic careerEdit

Samper's successor, Andres Pastrana (Conservative Party), took office in 1998 and appointed Trujillo ambassador to Austria. Between 1999 and 2001, Trujillo was ambassador to Russia.

Following a short break, Trujillo was again appointed ambassador For Scandinavia in 2004, this time by President Álvaro Uribe Vélez. A year later, Iceland also became part of Trujillo's diplomatic portfolio.

In 2006, Uribe appointed Trujillo ambassador to the European Union, a post he would hold until after a year after the 2010 election of President Juan Manuel Santos.

Democratic CenterEdit

Trujillo remained close to Uribe after Santos announced peace talks with the FARC and joined other hard-line politicians like Francisco Santos and Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, and far-right politicians like Fernando Londoño and Fabio Valencia Cossio in 2013 to form the "Uribista" Democratic Center (CD) party.

"Uribistas" enter CongressEdit

Trujillo became Zuluaga's running-mate in opposition to Santos in the 2014 elections, but failed to defeat the incumbent president, who by then was in the middle of peace talks with the FARC that were fiercely opposed by the "Uribistas."

The party did become the fourth largest in Congress and, under the leadership of Uribe in the Senate, became the most important opposition party to Santos, and in particular the peace talks with the guerrillas.

Despite the fierce opposition from both the Democratic Center, conservative media and a large portion of the Colombian public, Santos signed peace with the country's oldest rebel group in November 2016 and kicked off a peace process in December that year.

From Congress, Uribe and his party fiercely opposed the process.

The Duque presidencyEdit

Trujillo competed in the 2017 pre-election race to become the "uribista" candidate in 2018, but lost to the relatively unknown Senator Ivan Duque, whose political career had begun only four years earlier when he entered the Senate on the CD list.

Duque won the 2018 elections and appointed Trujillo minister of foreign affairs.[6]


  1. ^ "DETRÁS DE UN GRAN HIJO... HAY UNA GRAN MAMÁ". El Tiempo (in Spanish). 1993-03-02. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  2. ^ "Carlos Holmes Trujillo". Colombia Reports. 2018-06-11. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  3. ^ "Carlos Holmes Trujillo". La Silla Vacia (in Spanish). 2018-08-07. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  4. ^ "THE OTHER CARTEL IN COLOMBIA". The Washington Post. 1990-01-28. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  5. ^ "CARLOS HOLMES TRUJILLO, NUEVO MININTERIOR". El Tiempo (in Spanish). 1997-05-29. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  6. ^ "Meet Ivan Duque's cabinet, Colombia's new bosses". Colombia Reports. 2018-07-19. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
Political offices
Preceded by
María Ángela Holguín
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia